Single and Equal
by Marg Mowczko
I read this candid comment today from Samira, a single Christian woman, and I want to share it. Samira (that’s her in the photo) says a lot here in very few words.
As a girl that has no singing talent whatsoever, is horrible with children and single at 26 (because you can’t be a single women at 26 and be right with God, right?), I have often struggled with finding my place in church. I honestly think I have a lot to offer but finding the opportunities to do so is really hard.
Recently, while sitting with my mom I had a small epiphany. We were watching a mini-series based on King David’s life and after seeing how some of the women were treated (concubines and all that stuff) my mom said “Thank God that Jesus came, because women didn’t have it easy.”
My jaw dropped. My mom is very conservative and quite the traditionalist. She’s never been submissive to the point of oblivion but she sometimes struggles with my loosely feminist sensibilities.
Hearing her statement made me think that Jesus died and was resurrected so that I can be an equalist. If I get married one day I will honor and respect my husband but I’m sure as heck hoping that he will do the same to me. I will also offer what God has put in me, even if it means doing it outside the church’s four walls. Isn’t that where it counts anyway?” Samira
Here are some of my thoughts on this:
I have many single friends with lots to offer, and I know that some of them find it hard to fit in with congregations that promote marriage as the ideal, or with congregations that promote a certain brand, or culture, of femininity and masculinity. My single friends have struggled to find ministry opportunities, much like Samira. Unlike the real-life experiences of my friends, Paul says that singleness is an advantage in ministry (1 Cor 7:32-35). So something’s not right here.
Do any evangelical churches promote and support singleness as much as they promote and support marriage? We don’t have to look far to see a plethora of Christian ministries and conferences supporting marriage and family life. But it’s hard to find evangelical ministries that support and encourage singleness and ministry.
I think many churches need to take a long look at their culture and see whether it is as biblical, as gospel promoting, and as inclusive as it could be. And, while I agree that most ministry is actually done outside of the “church’s four walls”, there is a need for capable women and men to be ministering together as equals within the “four walls”.
Our equality, whether male or female, single or married, poor or rich, whatever our ethnicity, is thanks to Jesus – his death, his resurrection, and his Spirit which has been poured out on “all flesh” (Acts 2:17-18). Denying true equality, including equality in ministry, takes some of the lustre off the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and limits some of its liberating power.